Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 (Hardcover)
November 2012 Indie Next List
“Immigrant Clara Lemlich finds herself working in appalling conditions in a shirt-making factory in New York City. Rather than accept her fate, Clara joins fellow workers in striking against the company and their conditions. What begins small spreads throughout the country. This is an excellent historical portrayal that does justice to the immigrant work experience.”
— Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC
When Clara Lemlich arrived in America, she couldn't speak English. She didn't know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.
But that did not stop Clara.
She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a factory.
Clara never quit. And she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little.
So Clara fought back. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers in the country's history.
Clara had learned a lot from her short time in America. She learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.
About the Author
Was it because she was born in the dream factory of Los Angeles, site of giant donuts and fairy tale cottages? Was it because of the outrageous stories her father told at bedtime? Maybe it was the books themselves, the fauve colors of Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline and later the droll prose of William Steig that inspired Michelle to write for children. She has imagined, and published, picture books of all stripes, from alphabet to fiction to biography.
Melissa Sweet has illustrated more than eighty children s books, including the Caldecott Honor books "The Right Word "and "A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams" both written by Jen Bryant. She also wrote and illustrated "Tupelo Rides the Rails"; "Carmine: A Little More Red", which was a "New York Times" Best Illustrated Children s Book; and "Balloons Over Broadway", a picture book biography that was named a 2011 "Publishers Weekly" Best Nonfiction Picture Book. When she is not in her studio, Melissa can be found taking an art class, hiking with her dogs, or riding her bicycle. She lives with her family in Rockport, Maine.
“The zingy images masterfully (and appropriately) incorporate fabric and stitches as well as old images of checks and time cards … This book has fighting spirit in spades-you go, Clara!”
-Booklist (starred review)
“In her simple but powerful text Markel shows how multiple arrests, serious physical attacks, and endless misogyny failed to deter this remarkable woman as she set off on her lifelong path as a union activist.”
-The Horn Book